Industry News

New Weed Species Found in Butte County

A previous version of this update has since been corrected.

According to the Butte County Ag Commissioner a weed sample collected in Butte County on September 19, 2023 was submitted to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) botany lab for identification. The sample was identified as “White Water Fire” (Bergia capensis). Notes from the CDFA lab indicated that this is the first record of the plant in California and possibly the USA. 

“White Water Fire” (Bergia capensis)
“White Water Fire” (Bergia capensis)

CDFA has assigned a temporary Q rating, pending California pest rating proposal and public comment period to establish a permanent rating. The sample was collected from a rice field and was found growing inside the field. It was not growing on banks or in ditches, it appears the preferable habitat is rice fields and marshy areas. It looks similar to redstem (Ammania spp.) but the stem itself is much larger in diameter and less dense. Currently there is little information globally on the plant; how invasive it is and how it impacts rice fields. The plant is native to Africa and China, and has been identified in parts of Central America. Since the initial identification the Butte County Department of Agriculture has surveyed additional rice fields and did not find it in any other locations. One of the common ways of spread is the cultivation of rice. As of this date it has only been found in three checks of one rice site.

“White Water Fire” (Bergia capensis)

As with all noxious weed species, in commercial agricultural settings it is important to follow best management practices; this may include roguing field of species prior to harvest and cleaning/sanitizing of equipment post harvest. As more information is gained from partners at CDFA, the County Agricultural Commissioner’s office will disseminate information to all interested parties.

If you have any questions, would like additional information, or have seen this weed, please contact:

Butte County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office
Uriah Johnson, Deputy Agricultural Commissioner

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